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Preparing For Your Interview

Good and bad ways to prepare for your next interview.

Congratulations! You have secured an interview with a potential employer, and now it is time to prepare. The interview process can be stressful enough but doing some careful preparation can put you in the best possible position towards a successful interview outcome. Here are some helpful tips to consider whether it’s a phone, virtual, or in-person interview.


Phone Interviews

Phone interviews can feel like more of a brief introduction but should not be taken lightly. This is your opportunity to make a positive initial impression and get to the next step of the interview process. Below are some helpful tips on how to successfully approach a phone interview.

  • Check your device. If using a mobile device to conduct the call, make sure the phone is fully charged and test the microphone to make sure you can be heard clearly.
  • Find a quiet area to take the call. Make sure there are no distractions and avoid areas where there may be background noise that may interrupt the call or cause distractions.
  • DO NOT conduct the call while driving. Your focus should be on the call and not interrupted by traffic or distractions on the road.


Virtual Interviews

Virtual interviews provide a closer look into the candidate than a phone interview would. It is important to be prepared and planned on how to approach this type of interview as it is becoming the norm with many companies and interviewers. Below are some helpful tips on how to successfully approach a virtual interview.

  • Check and test your technology. Make sure that your internet connection, microphone, and camera are working well at least 30 minutes before the interview. There is nothing worse than having an interruption at the beginning of the interview because of a technology mishap. Also, make sure the device you are using is fully charged.
  • Create an interview setup. Make sure the area around you that the interviewer will see is free of clutter. Also, make sure you are at eye-level to your device and that you are seated at a desk or table, not on a sofa or an easy chair.
  • Eliminate noises and distractions from the surrounding area that may interrupt the interview.
  • Dress professionally for the interview as you would if this were an in-person interview. Make sure you are well groomed. The interviewer wants to see how you present yourself.


In-Person Interviews

An in-person interview is your time to demonstrate to the potential employer how you present yourself, how you communicate and interact with others in person, and how well you’ve prepared for this opportunity. Below are some helpful tips on how to successfully approach an in-person interview.

  • Plan out the drive to the site in advance. If you are local to the company, you may want to make the drive, in advance so that you know where you are going on the day of the interview. If you are traveling from out of town, make sure you get an understanding of the route in advance.
  • Be early! Make sure you arrive at least 15-20 minutes ahead of schedule. Plan on leaving for the interview earlier than you normally would in case you run into traffic or car trouble.
  • Dress professionally for the interview and make sure you are well groomed. The interviewer wants to see how you present yourself.


General Interview Tips:

Add these tips to your preparation for whichever interview format you are preparing for.

  • Do your homework and research the company’s website. Also, look beyond the website and review any additional information you can find on the internet.
  • Develop some general, specific, industry related, and technical questions to ask during the interview. We suggest preparing the following general questions:
    1. “In your opinion, what do you think it will take to be successful in this position and with your company?”
    2. “What are the primary objectives you are looking for this person to achieve in the first 30/60/90/180 days?” You can use this as an opportunity to sell your background around the key things they are looking for. 
  • Prepare for how you would answer some commonly asked questions such as:
    1. Tell me something about yourself?
    2. Why are you interested in this role?
    3. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
    4. What makes you the best fit for this role?
    5. Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  • Have a planner/portfolio/organizer prepared to have next to you during the interview. Use this to take notes during the interview. Also, use it to list the questions you have prepared so you remember to ask them.
  • Study your resume in advance to make sure you are prepared to speak to the experience listed on your resume. Have a copy of your resume printed and next to you to refer to during the interview.

In closing, do not approach the interview lightly or take it for granted. This is your opportunity to shine, succeed, and make a strong impression while making the situation less stressful. Good luck!

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